With the upcoming draft being absolutely loaded, it might be a good idea to use a strategy that worked well for the team this season: finding underrated, young players that can play ball.
Paying attention to the draft isn’t business as usual for the Mavericks. For the first time in years, scouting reports and mock drafts suddenly carry a lot more weight. Slated to have the #9 pick in the upcoming draft, the Mavs are hopeful that they can bring on a game-changer.
While a top ten pick can change the direction of a franchise, further along in the second round has players that can strengthen a team’s bench. The Mavericks currently don’t have any 2nd round picks this year as a result of the Nerlens Noel trade. But considering how deep this draft is, should the Mavericks find a way into round 2 of the draft?
Let’s face it, the Mavericks are terrible at drafting. From Shane Larkin to Justin Anderson, success in the draft has constantly eluded the Mavs this century; but to be fair, the 20-30 pick range isn’t exactly a breeding ground for franchise players. One thing the Mavs have excelled at is finding hidden gems that can contribute.
One of the best examples of this is the diminutive point guard J.J. Barea. Barea went undrafted ten years ago but was picked up by the Mavs prior to the 2006-07 season. He went on to be a reliable backup and played a crucial role during the 2011 title run. More recently, forgotten prospects like Yogi Ferrell and Dorian Finney-Smith have been difference makers despite being stood up on draft night.
The philosophy of the Mavericks has obviously changed this past season. Surrounding Dirk with seasoned veterans and hoping for the best worked for the better part of twenty years, but now the goal is to find young players for the next generation. This year’s draft being as strong as it is, getting another pick in the first round is unlikely without a lot in return. However, the Mavs may be able to scoop up a second round pick without giving up the farm.
According to the current NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams can offer up to $3.4 million in cash for a second round pick. While this may not seem like much in NBA money, it can be very appealing for a small market team that could use an influx of funds. A possible target might be the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets have quietly assembled one of the most exciting collections of young talent in the league. With one first and two second rounders this year, Denver will be looking to add to their collection. However with 13 players on the books for next season, they might be persuaded to give up a second for a simple exchange of money, which is something the Nuggets could especially want.
Despite taking a leap as a team this season, getting people in seats was an issue. Denver finished dead last in attendance, filling only 77% of the arena every game. That’s not to say the team is impoverished, but somewhere around $3.4 million for either the 49th or 51st pick wouldn’t be a bad deal, especially if the Mavs don’t have to give up any assets.
With a lot riding on what the Mavs do with the 9th pick, it might be a good move to find another piece that can contribute. The second round in a very deep draft seems like a good place to start.